interview by Glauber
Stringmodulator (Fabian).: Thank you. I met Jan a few years ago when he was working as a video producer when I needed music videos for another project. We became friends and started making music together without setting a particular goal or genre. At that time I listened a lot to John Martyn who was combining solo guitar playing with different effects in a very unique way in the seventies - that's why the whole thing developed at first in this direction: traditional songs, enriched with electronic-experimental sounds. But then Jan and I both realized that we no longer wanted traditional song structures and wanted to work more improvisational instead. I wanted to focus more on my guitar playing, so vocals were thrown out. We both began to expand our musical horizons and listened to more experimental stuff - especially in the areas of krautrock, electronic music and jazz. Another important source of inspiration was when we came across the duo-project "Piano Interrupted". They improvise live on stage with a piano and a laptop - Franz Kirmann samples, loops, modulates the piano-playing of his bandmate Tom Hodge. This impressed us so much that we thought we could do something likewise. We also experimented with drum machines – but then I sent Franz from “Piano interrupted” - quite fanboy-like - our first EP. He liked it but suggested, that our music would be more interesting, if we were able to produce all our sounds, including the beats, with our two instruments - this proposal actually became our guideline since then.
M.o.A.: John Martyn is awesome! And it’s cool that Franz gave you that suggestion because this attitude shows that he really care about your art! And as you said to me, Manifesto is more about this challenge of doing all sounds with your instruments. It's mind-blowing to see the lights of a graphic EQ "jumping" in different ways with each note played, indicating that there's possibly nothing pre-recorded! So how far you guys play 100% live? In the sense of using some kind of "live recorded loop" or pre-recorded/pre-processed sounds, etc.
Fabian: Nothing is prerecorded or overdubbed subsequently. Jan uses a Kaoss Pad for looping us as we play, with it he can also manipulate our sounds, cut up a sequence etc. The wonderful thing is: There is always this creative element of chaos, which is so inspirational. Unexpected things happen to which you have to respond in the here and now. In addition to that we both use a Boss Slicer Pedal, which also has a looping function.
Fabian: We are fishing for ideas and inspirations everywhere – in the past, the present and the future. I can get equally inspired by a Squarepusher record and the new Boss guitar synthesizer SY-300 on the one hand – and by an old Pharoah Sanders record and by what you can do with an alligator clip on the other hand.
The early Tangerine Dream albums are mindblowing. They have the power to pull you into another dimension with vast and strange landscapes. For me this kind of music has a transcendent quality.
2. Miles Davis – In a silent way
Jan and I got the idea for our own work process from Miles Davis and the German band Can. They both recorded jam sessions, let ideas flow freely - and glued together the most inspiring pieces. This album is soothing and electrifying at the same time.
3. Piano Interrupted – The Unified Field
Their bandname says it all: One guy plays a piano – the other one „interrupts“ him with a laptop. Their concept and this album are fantastic. Even more interesting are their live concerts because of their strong improvisational approach: I was impressed when they played a song they already played as an encore – and made something entirely different of it. They were an important role model for us.
4. Den Sorte Skole – Lektion III
Two Danish DJs made this amazing album with samples from all over the world – they mix music from Thailand, Krautrock, Screaming Jay Hawkins and Igor Vakhewitch - a French avant-garde composer– and strangely enough: it sounds coherent – as if all these people formed a super-group. I once saw them live with a congenial visual show.
5. Mehliana – Taming the Dragon
Another mindblowing duo. Mark Guiliana is a fantastic drummer - he plays like a mix of Jack DeJohnette and Squarepusher. Brad Mehldau is best known for his piano playing. On this album he mainly plays synthesizer and a Fender Rhodes. His playing is unbelievable inventive and melodic.
Fabian: I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign by SBC on Twitter. The label looked interesting and as if there were people behind it, who are passionate about music and their artists - and those impressions turned out to be right. Rob, the label boss, is a cool guy and does a really great job. I'm grateful to him for making some people listen to our crazy music.
M.o.A.: Now that the CD has already been released, will you hold a tour? Is there some kind of "top-secret-project" on the way? It would be great if you could share any of your future/present plans with us!
We are currently not planning a tour. But we have the idea to give concerts and broadcast them on the internet. We are currently working on a visual concept for performances. We would like to use visual elements as spontaneous and improvisational as in our music. On Youtube you can find an old live performance of us.
Fabian: Hm - to quote Monty Python: "Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations". And: listen to our music.